Patio Tomatoes: Container Growing Vegetables
Growing your own patio tomatoes on your patio is a good idea if space is a problem. The tomato crop bears fruit over a long period of time and is ideal for container gardening. All you need is a few supplies.
Step 1 - Select Your Tomatoes
You first need to select the type of tomato you wish to grow. The determinate type is generally easier to grow; it is easy to maintain and stops growing after it reaches a set point.
On the other hand, the indeterminate type continues to grow even after producing flowers and fruit and has more vines than the determinate type. However, the advantage of this type is that the plant continues to produce tomatoes into the fall.
Step 2 - Choose Containers
Most tomato plants require plenty of space to grow, so choose a container bigger than 12 inches. These can be large flower pots, old trash cans, pails, buckets or a number of other pots. Make sure the bottom contains enough holes for proper drainage, or drill holes if your container lacks them. You might also want to place a screen or mesh wire over the holes to prevent soil from falling out.
Step 3 - Plant Your Patio Tomatoes
Fill your container with two inches of potting soil. Adding some compost to the potting soil will improve fertility. Add some organic or slow-release fertilizer to keep your vegetables fed for the entire growing season.
You can either sow your own seeds by following the directions on the packets or buy a tomato plant at a nursery and transplant it to your container. A large container will allow you to grow two full-size tomato plants easily.
Step 4 - Care for Your Plant
Place your container in a well-sunned area since tomatoes require at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily, but provide your plant shade if temperatures are likely to rise very high.
Water your container frequently and check it daily to judge its need for water. Tomato plants take somewhere between 5 to 7 days to start. As the plant matures and the root system develops, it will need even more water to grow.
Once your plant reaches a height of a foot or more, you may need to stake it up if it is the indeterminate type, to prevent it from falling over. If your tomato plant is covered with plastic to protect it from the cold, make sure you provide holes for air.
Step 5 - Harvest Your Patio Tomatoes
Make sure you know which variety you have grown, since some varieties turn orange, yellow, green or dark red when they are ready to harvest.